Since its inception in 1853, Indian Railways, the world’s third-largest train network, has seen tremendous growth and change. From using environmentally friendly provisions for passengers to operating an engine-less train, the industry’s brains have demonstrated positive results in the areas of faster services and passenger safety. Much of the credit goes to the use of technology, which has improved the systems, infrastructure, and signalling, giving the train journey new meaning. Now, let’s look at how technology has aided in the modernization of the train travel industry in recent years.
For many years, dated seating and cabin layouts have taken the ‘fun’ out of train travel. Trains are now designed using 3D technology to meet international safety and comfort standards (Make In India Printer). It enables manufacturers to incorporate the necessary information (such as components, sub-systems, and more) in the virtual world, correct errors as they occur, and design coaches that meet modern passenger needs such as spacious standing areas, comfortable seats, and enticing cabin styling.
As long as the majority of the world is subject to COVID-19, social distance is more important than ever. With this in mind, Indian Railways has implemented the use of QR codes for station entry. This enables contactless verification and assists security personnel in keeping track of authorised entries.
Several stops were made by trains a decade ago, adding to the overall time of the journey. To streamline the routes, data science is being used to identify stops where a low volume of passengers must board or deboard and remove them to maintain the train’s speed, thereby reducing the overall journey time. The application of data science in the train travel industry also aids in the prediction of confirmations and the discovery of alternative routes. This has increased the likelihood of obtaining a confirmed train ticket to travel by 50 per cent. Currently, alternative travel options are used to book 18-20 per cent of the tickets on ConfirmTKT, a new-age travel ticket search engine that provides a seamless ticket discovery and booking experience.
Passengers are the lifeblood of trains. To provide a better experience, the railway industry will deploy SMART coaches, which will be outfitted with an emergency talk-back system, automatic plug-door and step control, CCTVs with facial recognition, and other features. This is done to improve passengers’ travel experiences and safety.
Tracking train status
Trains in India have a history of arriving late at their destinations due to weather or technical issues.
Remote monitoring and management of locomotive system (REMMLOT)
The Indian Railways’ new diesel locomotives are now outfitted with GPS devices to monitor their health. The entire system is equipped with a GPS receiver, processor panel, on-board sensor, and other components to capture and process data via GPRS service, which is then sent to a central server for further processing. The Indian Railways also employs REMMLOT technology to track train arrival and departure times.